When Does Richer = Poorer ?

Dave Killion — July 27, 2011

Over at Paying Attention, Paul Willcocks writes about inequality in Canada

“We’ve become a lot more unequal society in Canada, widening the gap between the rich and the rest. The top earners have increased their share of after-tax income in the last three decades, with the gap widening since 2000.”

Yikes! The poor are getting poorer? Well, only relatively speaking –

“…the Conference Board reports the average income level of the poorest group of people rose, “marginally,” from $12,400 in 1976 to $14,500 in 2009 – about 17 per cent over 33 years.”

Oh, so the poor are getting richer. But the rich are getting EVEN more richer than the poor, and this is a problem because… because…

“There are also moral issues. The idea of some people enjoying huge incomes while children live a few streets away in desperate poverty should be troubling.”

It IS troubling. Or rather it would be if  such a situation was either wide-spread or increasing, rather than being a small and disappearing problem.  But if Willcocks is truly concerned about moral issues, perhaps he should consider the righteousness of using the threat of violence to take money away from someone just because you don’t like them having so much more than others.


Ashley Johnston says

What is relative and absolute poverty?

— July 31, 2011

Dave Killion says

Ashley; From “Measuring poverty in Canada” (see link in post)-

“Prior to 1992, the conventional way of measuring poverty in Canada was in terms of “relative” deprivation. You are poor, in this sense, if you are less well off than most others in your commu- nity regardless of your actual standard of living.”

“(Absolute poverty) is generally understood to mean real deprivation and a “lack” of the basic necessities of life.”

— August 1, 2011

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